Art League, Children's Museum Collaborating

The West Hartford Art League and the Children's Museum are collaborating to bring art programs into the museum for one week.

From April 10 through April 14, during West Hartford's school vacation week, instructors from the West Hartford Art League will visit the museum for drop-in programs each day, from noon to 3 p.m.

Their purpose, said West Hartford Art League director Roxanne Stachelek, is to supplement what the museum already offers with its educational exhibits.

"Children can follow up the museum with a project with one of our instructors," Stachelek said. "Weaving art into other disciplines, like science, creates a richer experience for students. It helps provide a context for them. They're studying science, but in a creative way and tying it in with an art project. We're hoping that this will encourage children to explore these subjects more and spark their interest in art and science at the same time."

West Hartford Art League instructors will be offering programs based on dinosaurs, butterflies, the art of marbling, the night sky, and insects and arachnids.

"They all have a science component, but we're coming at it from the point of view of art," Stachelek said. "Both subjects will be covered. Hopefully it helps kids to become creative thinkers. It's being done more in schools now... tying art and subjects together. It has been proven to be a great way for children to learn and maintain more knowledge."

Michael Werle, the executive director of the Children's Museum, said they approached the West Hartford Art League with the idea to collaborate last fall. He thought it would be a great way to add more art programs into what the museum offers.

"We have been trying for the last two years to strengthen our multidisciplinary dimensions to our programs," Werle said. "We use the word STEAM to frame that. Last year, we did some artist residences, this year we want to try to ramp that up a bit. The natural one was the West Hartford Art League. They are right down the road and they are tightly woven into the community. They are well-known and respected."

Werle said this is going to be more than just having art in the museum.

"With the art league, it allows us to integrate art into the science and technology side of things," Werle said. "Almost all of the themes will try to leverage off of the museum settings and assets and exhibits and use that as a base for introducing artistic concept. Not just painting and drawing, but several different level of artistic activities."

Werle said it's all about continuing to offer children more learning opportunities.

"That's the center theme of everything we're doing," Werle said. "This allows children to experience the artistic or creative side of things while they are learning things about science, the environment, and animals. It puts them in a position to activate their creative nature, which is important. Learning is one thing, but doing that in an environment where there's opportunity for creativity is what we're trying to get at."

The West Hartford Art League programs are included with daily admission into the Children's Museum.

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